Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: Form and matter

Have you ever reflected upon the word, “matter”?  Such an interesting and compelling unit of our language — as in the question asked, “What is the matter?”  By contrast, how about the question, “What matters in this world?” and in a different form, “What matter makes up the universe?”

“Matter” refers to substance, whether used in the manner referring to a circumstance or event, or in inquiring about the foundational essence of that which makes up the “something” in our world.  Form, as Plato tried to explain, is the distinguishing feature that “molds” matter into various distinctions, without which all of the universe would be inseparable into a singular being — and thus the conceptual paradigm of a “oneness” of being originating, as in the first lines of the Old Testament, and out of that the omnipotent Being created the world by “forming” this matter or that matter into individual units of beings.

Matter is thus the “stuff” that things are made from; Form, the appearance that makes X distinguishable from Y; and thus does Being turn into individual beings because of the distinctive forms each take on.  But when we ask those other questions — i.e., “What is the matter?” or “Why does it matter?” — we are asking about relevance, substance, the “stuff” that makes up the event or the circumstances, and not the form or appearance; in other words, we want to get to the meat of an issue.

In that sense, the two meanings of the same word are intended in a similar manner: both for the substantive element that makes up the thing we seek.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may become a necessity.

In the process of seeking information about OPM Disability Retirement, both issues will be sought — though you may not realize it in this way — of both “form” and “matter”.  That which distinguishes your case from all others; the “meat” and substance of what must be included in your Federal Disability Retirement application, especially in the medical reports, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, and the unique features that “make up” your case that have to be “formed” in order to present it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Form and matter make up everything in the universe, and it matters how you formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application because matter unformed is merely a lump of nothingness that will result in nothing further unless you form it properly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Tarnished lives

These days, are there any other kinds?  Do saints exist, or is it merely time which erases the stench attached, and as history is recorded and memorialized by sympathetic co-conspirators attempting to preserve the sanctity of reputations and disregarding the detritus of humanity, so once the sanctification by pontifical decree settles upon a figure previously considered human, and now an idealized version of an individual lost in the complex historicity of biographical omissions, the tarnished perspective of lives once lived has disappeared into the ethereal universe of a surreal reality.

All lives are tarnished; but the moment one makes such a statement, it becomes a meaningless declaration.  For, just as stating that X is “all-inclusive” necessarily negates its opposite, so to posit that Y is “pure nothingness” undermines the very essence of “something-ness”.  If everything is meaningless, then nothing can have less or more meaning than anything else, and thus do we end up with an anarchy of language.  So, to qualify: Yes, all lives are tarnished, but some lives more so than others, and others, less so than further others (somewhat like the declaration in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “all animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.”).

And thus do we live this way, where the cynic believes that there are no saints, and the naïve minority of individuals who believe in such blather repeatedly invest in purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge as a sound retirement strategy next to Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme.  But of what do we judge a “tarnished” life, as opposed to one that is not?  Does a minor blemish amount to the same thing as a total spoilage of the whole?

That is where people have often misinterpreted the religious teachings of entrance into heaven, where purity through the sacrificed Lamb allowed for gaining a foothold into heaven, but where – from that – people argue, therefore, God doesn’t make a distinction between a minor infraction of sin and the carnage of murder or some other equally greater offense.  But surely there is a difference with a real distinction between that which requires purity in order to enter into heaven, as opposed to judging the difference between types of moral turpitude?

Yes, we all live tarnished lives, but some lives tarnished are of greater consequence than others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who view the onset of a medical condition as a “tarnished” smear upon one’s career, and thus resist leaving until that smudge has been erased, good luck.  The reality is that a medical condition is not a reflection of any “fault” or “negative” judgment upon a person; instead, it is simply a reality of one’s mortality.  Some people never suffer from a serious medical condition; others, with more than a fair share; and most of us fall somewhere in between.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, always remember that the need to seek an alternative remedy through a Federal Disability Retirement is never a reflection that deems that one now falls amongst the tarnished lives of greater misdeeds, but merely a reality in this mortal world of fallen souls, no different for this generation than for the centuries of such tarnished lives in unmarked graves of yore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Expectations beyond the norm

We begin the nascent origins of remembrances expecting greater things beyond the normal levels of reality; that is what we now define as a “good childhood” as opposed to a lesser, or even an ordinary one to bear and be burdened with.

We are admonished that we can “be anything”; that potentiality and possibility (is there even any conceptual clarity of distinction between the two, anymore, and what of the third in its trifecta – of probability?) are limitless; that, like child prodigies of yore, each of us are “special” (query:  if everyone is special, does the concept itself lose all meaning, as in the philosophical conundrum of nihilism, where if you believe in nothingness, where can there be a “something” to lend it any meaning at all?) and defined by the uniqueness of our own boundaries superimposed by society, artificial constructs and unattainable hopes and dreams.

With that baggage of certainty to failure, we begin to travel life’s inestimable travails and untried valleys of difficult terrain.  Yet, we call that a good childhood.  By contrast, we ascribe bad parenting to the cynic who treads upon the fragile soul of a child:  “Chances are, you’ll never amount to anything”; “You’re never going to be able to do that, so why try?” (said to a 16 year old who has stunted growth trying to dunk a ball); “Don’t waste your time; you don’t have the talent for it, anyway.”  These comprise, constitute and reflect emotional harm and verbal abuse, by the standards of today.

We are never supposed to discourage, but always to encourage; never to allow for the reality of an impervious universe to influence, but rather, to always create a fantasy of potentiality and possibility of hope and perspective of the impossible.  But what of encounters with strangers and angels disguised as visiting anonymity?  Do we say to the child, “You are special; all people are special; as special people all, welcome all”?  No, instead we preface warnings, admonish with goblins and ogres beneath every bed, and scare the hell out of kids – which, by the way, is also considered good parenting.  And thus do we become adults, weighed down by the baggage of heavy biases towards the realities of life.

Most of us realize, at some point, that being “special” merely means that we are ordinary human beings living quite monotonous lives, and that only celebrities, politicians and the once-in-a-lifetime Bob Dylan truly fit into that category of uniqueness.  Happiness is the expectation dashed, evaluated, then accepted; and that it’s all okay.  Then, when a medical condition hits, it makes it all the more so; for, as children, we also expected that our mortality was nothing more than something well into an obscure future, always touching others but never ourselves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the reality of our own vulnerabilities and fragile nature begins to set in.  Expectations beyond the norm have to be compromised.  Dreams once hoped for and hopes once dreamed of require some modifications.  But that’s all okay; health is the venue for hope, and without it, there isn’t even a whiff of dreaming for tomorrow’s moment.

Prepare well the Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is okay to be ordinary, and to recognize the fragility of human life and health, for it is the latter that needs to be protected in order to dream of a future where a summer’s day dozing on a picnic blanket will fulfill all expectations beyond the norm.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from OPM: Dreams, daydreams and nightmares

Of the first in this triplet trope, the concept can envision two distinct avenues:  in a state of somnolence, to have them with minimal control of appearance; or, in another sense, to possess aspirations beyond one’s station in life or current circumstances that may impute dissatisfaction.

The second in the series is somewhat connected to the second concept branching from the first; it is a moment of reflective escape, where the reality of “now” and the encounter with Being is temporarily averted and subsumed in a meditative silence of self-repose.  Some have the capacity to embrace and become lost in such quietude of an alternate universe, despite a clutter of noises or the distraction of tumult.  Then, some would counter that it is precisely in such moments that fleeing into a parallel universe of a mental cocoon is necessary in order to maintain one’s sanity in a world replete with a curiosity shop full of random violence.

And, of the third, we again branch into a duality with the proverbial fork in the road; for, such infamy of uncontrolled images and voices while in a sleeping slumber constitutes the primary definition; but, whether in metaphorical terms or engaging in trifling hyperbole, we attribute traumatic and frightful events by describing it precisely by the term at hand.

Dreams, daydreams and nightmares are all part of our daily lives, whether awake, half-aware, conscious or sub-conscious in multiple and mysterious modalities of living; but they serve a purpose which, whether explained away by psychologists, therapists, pseudo-intellectuals or just plain people of tremendous insights and uncanny foresights, they continue to remain the foundation for maintaining the sanity preserved within the insanity of the greater universe.

Without nightmares, how would the inner psyche expiate the images and sense datum we have involuntarily ingested?  Without daydreams, what would man hope for, live for, in circumstances of squalor and decadence?  And of dreams, how would the subconscious sift through the visual and information overload experienced daily and in voluminous onslaughts of quantitatively overwhelming constructs?

Or of the second branch, where aspirations and hope for a better tomorrow, though derailed by screams of destitution and unhinged by crying babies, drunken realities and unsavory circumstances, yet to dream for a better tomorrow is sometimes the only thread which separates the crumbling heart from a tinge of a fading smile.  It is precisely these that allows for man to wake up the next morning and seek a better tomorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with shattered dreams, escaping into a greater cauldron of daydreaming, or rustling in sleepless fits of nightmares unavailing, all because one’s career is on the proverbial “line” resulting from a medical condition which may cut short one’s dreams, daydreams and creating a chaos of nightmares, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be the first step in the aspirational discourse needed to regain one’s equilibrium.

The importance of trifurcating between dreams, daydreams and nightmares is a prescient step towards recognizing that the reality of one’s present circumstances may be described as a “nightmare”, and perhaps those sleepless nights are filled with them; but in order for the Federal or Postal employee to dream of a better tomorrow, the leisure of daydreaming must be allowed, but always tempered by pragmatic steps which must be undertaken in the reality of day-to-day living, in order to reach a specific goal:  That of getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to reach that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, which is neither defined by dreams, nor attained by daydreaming, and certainly not a nightmare to avoid.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Life as a frown

Is most of life a frown, with a few smiles which make it all worthwhile?  Or is it perceived as its opposite – of predominantly smiles, with some frowns interspersed throughout?  Is that like the test-question for psychological health, of whether the glass is seen as half empty, or half filled?  Does the answer to the question depend upon the mood of the moment, the ethereal pattern of the day, or the fabric of that which is woven into our DNA by a matrix of unassailable conventions?  There is, to be sure, a weight of paradigms and an interwoven context which cumulatively aggregates into a “personality” of who one is; but can a Rorschach test unravel the depths of a psyche, or does it determine the course of one’s future actions because of the embedded nature of an anguished soul?

One wonders, ultimately, whether language is the conduit of the perception we possess, and that is why the Hindu guru or the Zen monk admonishes to seek silence, and to quell the obstacle of words and voices.  For, does an animal engage in unspeakable atrocities?  Of self-harm or self-immolation, or worse, of mass executions?  Is it not because of the conveyance of language, in communicating thoughts created and linguistic strings of previously-unimagined evils, that we reach the pinnacle of banality (to borrow a phrase from the Philosopher, Hannah Arendt)?  Would a man of such mediocrity as Eichmann have concocted the horrors of mass extermination, but for felicities directed by a conspiracy of greater evils?

Life as a frown; it is to approach the world with a certain perspective.  Life as a smile; it is to reproach the universe for being too downtrodden.  Is there a difference, or merely a play upon words where the distinction is lost once we wipe away the blur from our morning eyes and begin to engage in the work of the day?

Leisure is needed for the miscreant to employ the folly of a wasted day.  Time was that we all had to survive by physical toil, and worry involved how to eat in order to survive.  That is what consumes all of the rest of the Animal Kingdom; to survive, one must eat; to eat, one must toil; and the rest and residue leaves one too exhausted to consider, but for the technology of leisure where thoughts may invade and pervade, in order to create malevolent constructs of linguistic artifices.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the “approach of life” is an easy matter to conceive of:  the medical condition itself has made the determination for you.  Life becomes a frown, with nary a smile to intercede, when the work of each day is beset with anguish, pain and sorrow.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, actually has a constructive goal and purpose:  To alter the course of a future yet undetermined, and make life as a basket of smiles, to the extent possible in this universe of frowns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: And then we die

(It is the parenthetical previous statement that ultimately matters, left blank to be completed, and never to be presumed).  Actions of finality, or seemingly so, tend to create an aura of despair and angst.  Once, in a world where purpose was never questioned, and the teleological end of man never brought forth the hint of doubt, the cohesiveness of society’s resolve was never a pause.  It is the modernity of hesitation, trepidation and loss of judgment that brings us to the pit of incessant questioning, as opposed to “doing”.  This is a maddening world, where the rise of Existentialism and post-modern impotence leaves us to seek therapy at every turn.

What we do in our lives before that terminal event; what dreams we once possessed before the souring of cynicism overwhelmed us; and of those lazy summer nights when the dancing illumination of fireflies dotted the canvas of a blackened void, when thoughts would drift beyond the mere mediocrities of present lives, current circumstances and seemingly unassailable realities which constrained, restricted and limited the dreams shattered by the reality of our travails; it was then that a glimmer of hope, an expectation of possibility, and a hint of potentiality yet unrealized, would creep into the essence of our souls.

Fairytales matter, because youth cannot survive another day without some fantasy of hope; and doors left unopened and locked with the resolve of “forever” will only diminish and destroy, where the need for tomorrow yet shouts in a rashness of desire.  To shut the pathway to dreams or to construct obstacles for the mere sake of obstruction is to strangle that parenthetical gleam of light yet unextinguished and to betray the angels who look down upon us with the remnants of wings to be unfurled, in hopes of fluttering to pass by with a smile.

Perhaps, one day, there will still be such follies to believe in.  For now, there is only the toil of daily grind, and thus are we left with the question implicit in the statement:  And then we die.

In Muriel Barbery’s work, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a youthful life of advantage but of seeming meaninglessness is traded with an older woman’s upward trajectory once lost in the anonymity of class distinctions, and the theme throughout encompasses the essence of a life’s worth.  We all want to embrace meaning and value in the life which has been given; have we fulfilled our potential?  Did the dreams we once possessed, handed to us like jewels on a plate of limitless infinity, become realized, or was it a wasted phantasm like a handful of sand squeezed and escaping through the crevices of our closed fists?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the questions garnered by thoughts of future insecurity are natural and plentiful.  It is, in many ways, similar to the refrain repeated herein:  And then we die.

Once a Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee is separated from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, one wonders:  Was my work of any lasting value?  Did I leave an imprint upon the shifting sands of a prior existence?  Did I make a difference?

But those questions should be cast aside and left behind, and instead, it is still the future of one’s unfinished work that should always be focused upon, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to continue the narrative in working upon that familiar refrain, that the future still promises a fulfillment of unfinished potentiality, and the unmarked grave need not be one which is unvisited even in the twilight of our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Indicia by quantitative output

Should worth be determined by quota of quantitative output, or is the slow and steady progress of quality and craftsmanship still valued in this world of imported trinkets and trash bins of brevity?  There are reports of a major bankruptcy filing resulting in the inevitable liquidation of a foreign shipping company, and the rumors preceding have already forced stockpiling of goods for the upcoming holiday shopping expectations.

The interconnecting tentacles of international trade foregoes any differentiation these days, between “domestic” or “foreign” companies, and the deep reverberations and repercussions of shortages felt reveals and unravels of a society addicted to the notion of accumulation, no matter what or where the source.  We can no longer travel to destinations of quiet reserve, because everyone does so – with Smartphones and photographs instantly posted, and of the meditative monastery no longer devout with quietude of prayer, but filled with flashbulbs of visceral interruptions.  And of the unique product made with time and care?  Of hand-held tools and the carpenter’s reflective repose?

Quotas define modernity; it is the quantitative output that prevails in a factory-like universe where the individual stitching has no mark of uniqueness or character of identification.  Perhaps Marx had at least the principle of labor’s loss of meaning right; when the product loses the manifold entailment of the soul which guides the hands, then the character of creation is destroyed and the essence of the mold becomes subsumed beneath the greed of desire.

It is the celebrity-status and stature of glimmer and glamour which poses to characterize the indicia of success; and the goal of that flashpoint of destination’s pinnacle of “arriving” is determined by the indicia of quantitative output.  How else to explain the constant boast that Americans work longer hours, have less vacations, spend fewer time with family and friends – but to show the rest of the world who sit idly by with envy and despair, that the price to pay in order to attain the grand scheme of such blissful existence is to undermine the family structure, to desecrate the common hold of a community, and to destroy the very fabric of society’s worth?  We pay a price, all right, and that cost transacted is the self-destruction of the essence of humanity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, the pressure to keep up with the quantitative output comes to a flashpoint where health intersects with productivity, and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service takes such data into account in deciding the worth of your life.

The indicia of quantitative output are the means by which the determining end is calculated.  At that critical juncture, the Federal or Postal employee must make a Solomon’s decision:  Health, or the job.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to that point of decision-making, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes not just a necessity, but a call to action.  For, in the end, the indicia of quantitative output is someone else’s measure of worth – and that “someone else” is certainly not taking into account the value of one’s health in a society self-destructive in its juggernaut of purposeless regression.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire